Come Ye Ower Frae France

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COME YE OWER FRAE FRANCE. AKA and see "Key of the Cellar," "Keys of the Cellar (The)," "Marchioness of Tweeddale's Delight (The)." English, Old Hornpipe (3/2 time). G Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The song is a satire of the Hanoverian King George I ("Geordie Whelps"), who became King of England and Scotland in the 18th century. George transplanted to England an assortment of mistresses and characters, the fromer being impoverished gentlewomen from Germany, providing Jacobite songwriters with a broad target and much ribald glee. Several of these imported characters come in for derision: Madame Kilmansegge, Countess of Platen, is referred to as "The Sow" in many Jacobite songs, while the King's favorite mistress, the lean and haggard Madame Schulemburg (afterwards named Duchess of Kendall) was given the name of "The Goose." She is the "goosie" in "Come Ye Ower Frae France," while the "blade" is one Count Koningsmark. John, Earl of Mar, was nicknamed "Bobbing John," an interesting character in Scottish history. Mar (1675–1732) was a disaffected Tory minister who had served as one of the Scots commissioners during the Union negotiations (to unite the kingdoms of Scotland and England), however, once it was passed he came to understand it was a terrible mistake. To remedy this he raised the Jacobite standard at Braemar in 1715 on behalf of James, the Old Pretender and became one of the leaders of the rebellion. Opposed by the The Duke of Argyll with 35,000 government troops, Mar and his clansmen fought at Sheriffmuir near Stirling in November, 1715. Although at first it appeared that the 'Highland Charge' would carry the day, the Hanoverian professionals wavered but held and eventually gained the upper hand, driving the Highlanders back into the mountains. By February, 1716, the rebellion was quelled and Mar sailed with James for France and permanent exile.

CAM YE O'ER FRAE FRANCE

Cam ye o'er frae France?
Cam ye down by Lunnon? (Lunnon = London)
Saw ye Geordie Whelps
And his bonny woman?
Were ye at the place
Ca'd the Kittle Housie? (Kittle Housie = Cat House or Brothel)
Saw ye Geordie's grace
Riding on a goosie?

Geordie he's a man
There is little doubt o't;
He's done a' he can
Wha can do without it?
Down there came a blade
Linkin' like my lordie; (Linkin' = tripping along)
He wad drive a trade
At the loom o' Geordie.

Though the claith were bad, (claith = cloth)
Blythly may we niffer; (niffer = haggle)
Gin we get a wab, (wab = length of cloth)
It makes little differ.
We hae tint our plaid, (tint = lost)
Bannet, belt and swordie,
Ha's and mailins braid -- (ha's and mailins = houses and farmlands)
But we hae a Geordie!

Jocky's gane to France,
And Montgomery's lady;
There they'll learn to dance:
Madame, are ye ready?
They'll be back belyue (belyue = quickly)
Belted, brisk and lordly;
Brawly may they thrive (brawly = well)
To dance a jig wi' Geordie!

Hey for Sandy Don!
Hey for Cockolorum!
Hey for Bobbing John,
And his Highland Quorum!
Mony a sword and lance
Swings at Highland hurdie; (hurdie = buttock)
How they'll skip and dance
O'er the bum o' Geordie!



Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 40 (appears as "Key to the Cellar", the name of a 2004 dance by Jenny Beer set to the tune). Loesberg (Traditional Folksongs and Ballads of Scotland, vol. 1), 1994; No. 1.

Recorded sources: COOK 038, Ewan MacColl – "Black and White." HR 102, Tannahill Weavers – "The Old Woman's Dance." Ossian OSS 103, Ewan MacColl – "The Jacobite Rebellions." Shanachie 79045, Steeleye Span – "Parcel of Rogues." Dick Gaughan – "No More Forever.




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